Thursday, December 23, 2010

Woman Killed By Dog In South London

From Key 103

A woman in her 40s has died after being savaged by a dog at a property in south London.
The victim suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, in Wallington, near Sutton.
Scotland Yard said the dog - a Belgian mastiff - was shot dead by police firearms officers.
There was at least one other person at the property at the time of the attack, but no-one else was injured.
A puppy has also been removed from the property in Demesne Road.
Police and paramedics were first called out at 8.57pm on Thursday, following reports of an animal attack.
A post-mortem examination was being arranged and next of kin had yet to be informed. Detectives from Sutton Borough are investigating.
Belgian mastiffs - which can grow to a height of 32 inches (78cm) and weigh as much as 50kg - are not classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned: pit bull terrier; Japanese tosa; dogo Argentino; and fila Braziliero.
Belgian mastiffs are said to be "calm and obedient" on website dogbreedinfo.com.
The death in Wallington is the latest in a series of serious dog attacks on humans.
A four-year-old girl was scarred for life in October after being savaged by a Japanese akita dog in Lee-on-Solent, Hants.
In April, 18-month-old Zumer Ahmed died after she was mauled by a cross-breed animal at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex.
In February 2009, three-and-a-half-month-old Jadin Joseph Mech was mauled to death by two family dogs at the home of his grandmother, in Ystrad Mynach, South Wales.
The dogs - a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Jack Russell - were destroyed.

Update December 24, 2010 10:56am - The following article is from Daily Mail:

Police hunt for owner of dog that savaged to death woman, 50, in her home: Officers use riot shields to fight off huge mastiff before shooting it

Officers fire at least four shots to kill Belgian mastiff
Detectives were today hunting for the owner of a dog who savaged a woman to death in a horrendous attack in her home.
Alex Blackburn-Smith, 34, was named by police as the person they wanted to speak to in connection with the death of Barbara Williams.
The 50-year-old  was so badly mauled by the huge Belgian mastiff that she was pronounced dead at the scene, in Wallington, South London last night.
After arriving at the scene, police were forced to fight the crazed animal off with riot shields before shooting it four times.
Neighbours of Ms Williams claimed her death was an accident waiting to happen.
Next-door-neighbour neighbour Burhan Yanbolu said he and his wife fell out with the family 18 months ago because of the killer dog.
Mr Yanbolu had previously called the police and council to complain about the animal after it smashed their adjoining fence.

'It was going to happen, it was always going to happen,' said Mr Yanbolu, a father of twin six-year-old girls.
'I once saw a young boy in the house playing with the mastiff and it was getting too rough so I told the woman who got killed and she said they were just playing.'
He added: 'We didn't have anything to do with them because of the dog. It was a big strong dog.
We started having problems with them in autumn of 2009.

'There were two dogs and the big one would lean against the fence and could see over it on its hind legs.

'We had concerns it would get over and could get in our garden.'
Armed police were called to the house at 9pm, where they were met by gruesome bloody scenes.
The dog was shot dead by officers and a puppy was removed from the house.
Paramedics battled in vain to save Ms Williams, who suffered multiple injuries.
Sutton borough Commander Guy Ferguson said his officers wanted to speak to Blackburn-Smith in connection with the attack.
He said a puppy was removed from the house in the aftermath of the incident but its breed is not yet known.
Mr Ferguson described the dog as 'distinctly large' and said at the time of the attack another woman of similar age to Ms Williams was in the house with a child under five
'It was a very ferocious dog,' he said.
'The officers had to use shields to contain the dog.'
He said officers would be investigating previous complaints about the dog and what, if anything, was done.
On Mr Blackburn-Smith, he said: 'My information is he lives at that address and has a 1976 date of birth and we are making inquiries to speak to him.'
Though neighbours said the victim and Mr Blackburn-Smith were having a relationship, the police contradicted that.
'As I understand it, there isn't a relationship,' said Mr Ferguson.
'I believe she is a lodger at the premises which are controlled by him.'
Harshal Kshatri, 25, who owns a Western Union shop around the corner from the victim's semi-detached home, said: 'We saw her only yesterday. She came in and bought some stuff.
'She would send money home to Jamaica, top up her Oyster card, buy groceries and play the Lottery, just general stuff. She was very friendly; very jovial and very nice.'
It is thought Ms Williams lived in the property with an older female relative, the woman's son and grandson.
Mr Kshatri added: 'They were all going to be at home for Christmas. I think she bought Christmas cards from us yesterday. You don't expect this. I thought the dog was quite friendly. It was never aggressive from what I remember.
'I don't think she ever used to walk it but a guy at the house did. He would tie it outside to a bench when he came in.'
Mr Kshatri's mother, Falguni Kshatri, 47, said: 'Barbara was a regular customer, she shopped at ours for more than five years. She was a very nice person, always smiling and talking. I never saw her miserable. She was a very good lady.
'I never saw the dog but heard it from around the corner, it had a very heavy voice.'
One neighbour who asked not to be named told Sky News the family kept the pet in the garden and that it rarely barked.
Another  neighbours paid tribute to a 'very friendly, jovial, very nice woman'.
A Met Police spokesman said that paramedics arrived to find the Ms Williams 'suffering from multiple dog attack injuries.'
A London Ambulance spokesman said: 'We were called at 8.55pm to Demesne Road, Wallington, to an incident.
'We sent an ambulance crew, a single responder in a car and an air ambulance doctor in a car.
'Sadly the victim, a woman in her 40s, was pronounced dead at the scene by the air ambulance doctor.'

A post mortem examination was expected to take place later today and a inquest will be opened and adjourned in due course.
Sutton Council confirmed it had received a complaint about dogs damaging a neighbour's fence last year.

'The council and the police's Safer Neighbourhood Team were contacted in connection with another smaller dog and damage to a fence at this address in August 2009,' said councillor Colin Hall, responsible for dog control.
'At that point there were no legal grounds for the council to intervene on the basis of our statutory powers.
'There were no subsequent complaints.'
Belgian mastiffs were originally bred to pull carts and can weigh up to 110lb.
Despite growing to a height of 32 inches, they are not classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned - pit bull terriers, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Braziliero.
There have been numerous recent cases of savage dog attacks.
A four-year-old girl was scarred for life in October after being attacked by a Japanese akita dog in Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire.
In April, 18-month-old Zumer Ahmed died after she was mauled by a cross-breed animal at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex.
And in February last year three-and-a-half-month-old Jadin Joseph Mech was mauled to death by two family dogs at the home of his grandmother, in Ystrad Mynach, south Wales.
The dogs - a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Jack Russell - were destroyed.

Update December 24, 2010 11:15am - The following article is by Damien Pearse and Jo Couzens, Sky News Online:

Dog Maul Death: Man, 34, Arrested 

A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a woman was killed by a dog in south London.
The man is being questioned at a South London police station after attending voluntarily, police said.
Barbara Williams, in her 40s, suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, in Demesne Road, Wallington, near Sutton.
Scotland Yard said the dog - believed to be a Belgian mastiff - was shot dead by police firearms officers.
Police wanted to trace Alex Blackburn Smith, believed to be Ms Williams' partner and the animal's owner.
Detective Chief Superintendent Guy Ferguson said: "We are in the process of contacting the lady's next-of-kin."
At least one other person is thought to have been at the property at the time of the attack but no one else was injured.
A puppy has also been removed from the property.
Police and paramedics were first called out at 8.57pm on Thursday, following reports of an animal attack.
A post-mortem examination is being arranged and detectives from Sutton Borough are investigating.
Belgian mastiffs - which can grow to a height of 32 inches (78cm) and weigh as much as 50kg - are not classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned: pit bull terrier; Japanese tosa; dogo Argentino; and fila Braziliero.
Belgian mastiffs are said to be "calm and obedient" on website dogbreedinfo.com.
Ms Williams death is the latest in a series of serious dog attacks.
A four-year-old girl was scarred for life in October after being savaged by a Japanese akita dog in Lee-on-Solent, Hants.
In April, 18-month-old Zumer Ahmed died after she was mauled by a cross-breed animal at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex.
In February 2009, three-and-a-half-month-old Jadin Joseph Mech was mauled to death by two family dogs at the home of his grandmother, in Ystrad Mynach, South Wales.
The dogs - a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Jack Russell - were destroyed.

Update December 25, 2010 10:29am - The following article is by Heidi Blake, The Telegraph:

Man arrested over dog attack on woman is released on bail

A man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a dog mauled a woman to death in south London has been released on bail. 
Alex Blackburn-Smith, 34, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following the death of Barbara Williams, who suffered "multiple injuries" during the attack on Thursday night, near Sutton in London.
Mr Blackburn-Smith, who is believed to be the owner of the dog, is understood to have turned himself into a south London police station on Friday.
Ms Williams, in her 40s, was mauled in a property in Wallington by the dog, thought to be a Belgian mastiff. Another woman and a child of five were also in the house at the time of the attack.
Police called to the scene described the animal as "distinctly large" and described how they had to fend it off with riot shields before marksmen arrived to shoot it dead. One puppy was removed from the property.
Paramedics and officers arrived at the property - owned by Mr Blackburn-Smith - where Ms Williams is thought to have been a lodger, to find her ''suffering from multiple dog attack injuries''.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said tonight: "A 34-year-old man has this evening attended a south London police station and has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and suspicion of cultivating cannabis."
Neighbours of the victim said they had warned the authorities about the animal after it broke down a fence connecting their properties.
Burhan Yanbolu who lives in the adjacent house on Demesne Road said he and his wife fell out with their neighbours 18 months ago because of the killer dog.
Mr Yanbolu, a minicab driver, had previously called the police and council to complain about the animal after it smashed their adjoining fence.
"It was going to happen, it was always going to happen," said Mr Yanbolu, a father of twin six-year-old girls.
"I once saw the young boy in the house playing with the mastiff and it was getting too rough so I told the woman who got killed and she said they were just playing."
He added: "We didn't have anything to do with them because of the dog. It was a big strong dog. "
Sutton Council called for tougher dog laws after claiming that it was powerless to act despite being warned about the animal.
A visit by local officials resulted in no action being taken against the Belgian mastiff until today, after it had fatally savaged Ms Williams.
Under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, it is illegal for any breed of dog to be out of control in a public place, but the Act does not cover the private property of the dogs' owners.
As a result, police have been powerless to prosecute owners for some of the most horrific attacks by dogs in recent years.
"The council and the police's Safer Neighbourhood Team were contacted in connection with another smaller dog and damage to a fence at this address in August 2009," said councillor Colin Hall, executive member for environment and climate change.
"At that point there were no legal grounds for the council to intervene on the basis of our statutory powers.
"There were no subsequent complaints."
He added: "Our whole community is shocked and deeply saddened by this appalling incident and our thoughts go out to the victim's family and friends.
"In my opinion, there needs to be stricter control of dog ownership and greater powers of intervention to prevent situations like this happening in the future."
Detective Chief Superintendent Guy Ferguson described the dog as "distinctly large" and said at the time of the attack another woman of similar age to Ms Williams was in the house with a child under five.
"It was a very ferocious dog," he said. "The officers had to use shields to contain the dog."
Belgian mastiffs – which can grow to a height of 32 inches (78cm) and weigh as much as 50kg – are not classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned: pit bull terrier; Japanese tosa; dogo Argentino and fila Braziliero.
Belgian mastiffs were originally used to pull carts where they originated and are said to be "calm and obedient" on website dogbreedinfo.com.
This is the latest serious dog attack on a human.
A four-year-old girl was scarred for life in October after being attacked by a Japanese akita dog in Lee-on-Solent, Hants.
In April, 18-month-old Zumer Ahmed died after she was mauled by a crossbreed animal at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex.
And in February last year three-and-a-half-month-old Jadin Joseph Mech was mauled to death by two family dogs at the home of his grandmother, in Ystrad Mynach, south Wales.

Related articles:
Woman Mauled To Death By Dog In London - Sky News
Man arrested for manslaughter after woman killed in dog attack - The Telegraph

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